Tuesday, 26 January 2016

T+ GREEN TEA WITH VITAMINS //


There's a word people tend to overuse in the month of January, other than 'gym' and 'resolutions' and that word is 'detox'.

All hell broke loose as soon as the festive season hit and I know as well as the next person what it feels like to utter the phrase 'I'm never drinking again'. In all seriousness though, as much as I enjoy the indulgence of Christmas and New Year it feels great to swap your diet and cut the alcohol down just to refresh your body at the start of the year.

I was contacted by T+ Wellness Drinks in Harrogate (holler to local businesses) who have created a range of green tea with vitamins. It's nothing new that I'm into green tea but with the promise of added goodness in these particular ones, I had to give them a go.



BOOST

The T+ Boost is green tea mixed with ginseng and yerba mate (which originates in areas of South America; leaves from the plant are infused and are a naturally a great source of nutrients, vitamins, anti-oxidants AND caffeine. Now you don't need to Google it, you're welcome.)

It's crammed with raspberry & pomegranate pieces and B vitamins for a genuine energy boost so it's a great cuppa to start the day with.

Now, green tea will never completely quench my thirst for a Yorkshire Tea brew but having T+ on a morning for a change has done me the world of good. It also smells amazing.

DETOX

This is my favourite of the two because of the apple and blackcurrant flavours combined. There's ginger and dandelion roots in there as well as added B and C vitamins so it's a great way to implement that health kick. Let's be honest, we all need a keep up to the detox we promised ourselves on January 1st.

This is without a doubt you're new hangover essential. Trust me, I should know.

These teas are also all natural, so there's no fear of added sugar, chemicals or colouring. They taste good all by themselves!


Not everybody is a fan of green tea because it can be a little bitter and is certainly an acquired taste. T+ wellness drinks add that extra yum factor and familiarity with fruit, as well as a bonus of daily vitamins to kelp your body get exactly what it needs.

The T+ range isn't one of the cheapest options out there but it's far from expensive. You can mix & match the ranges or they have options combining some of the flavours that best suit your lifestyle. The multi-vitamin box is my next venture I think!

They're great value for money and it's certainly quali-tea. See what I did there?

Find out more on their website here.


Did you resolve to get healthier this year?

leanne

x


This post includes items sent to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own and I love that this is a local business with a strong niche in the market, and in one of my favourite markets (tea!) for that matter.

Also featured, my Marauders Map mug I got for Christmas. Thanks David!

Friday, 22 January 2016

THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN VISITING MALAYSIA //


Last year was my first time visiting Southeast Asia and there's a few things I think you should know if you're venturing there yourself soon! Following my post about Kuala Lumpur here, these tips are directly from my own experience in various parts of Malaysia but I'm pretty certain most of these apply to neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


Mosquito repellent/nets

Luckily, a lot of the hostels we stayed in were situated centrally in a building so there was no chance of an open window and a swarm of mosquitoes getting in whilst we were asleep - except one. And we paid the dire price next day. I bought a mosquito net for about a fiver on eBay before I left. Pack it at the bottom of your rucksack just in case. If you do find yourself sleeping next to an open window or outside, make sure this is the first thing you put up whether you think you need to or not. You wont; know until you wake up the next day covered in bites!

Take a roll-on insect repellant with you if possible, anything containing over 50% Deet is great. It's often said this product is bad for you but when used sensibly (I used it on an evening and before going to sleep) it really helps keep the mozzis at bay.


Keep bags with you

Some locals mentioned to us in the highlands that in the cities, particularly Kuala Lumpur, to always keep your bags to hand. Same as in any country, there's the risk of someone grabbing your stuff from right under your nose. We were told specifically to hook the strap of a bag round a spare chair (if there's one) beside you so it becomes difficult for anyone to make off with it.

Similarly, if you're travelling and will be moving from hostel to hostel, keep a padlock handy because a lot of the hostels have free lockers or storage for you to use. A padlock will mean you have peace of mind when leaving your stuff when you go out to explore for the day. This being said, we had no issues with security whatsoever on our travels and usually left our rucksack in our shared room. Obviously, always keep your passport and any important documents on you at all times if possible.


Clothing

If there's anything you take from this post, as useful as the rest may be, I'd advise you to buy clothes when you arrive. I didn't take a huge amount of clothing as it was but I definitely would take less next time; more room for harem pants and pretty tops that are super cheap to buy when I get into Malaysia!

It's predominantly a Muslim country so be aware of the dress code when out and about. In KL and major cities it's perfectly acceptable to wear shorts when the weather requires it but try to cover your shoulders when you can and obviously, cover up if planning to visit any religious temples or churches. In many places, particularly those that are less touristic, it's best trousers that fall below your knee and a long sleeved top. I just bought some baggy t-shirts from Primark and lived in them throughout the entire trip!

Most importantly, take a comfy pair of trainers with you. I got these for £10 (another last minute Primark bargain before leaving) and I wore them almost every single day. Even after walking many, many miles they were comfortable, practical and although not waterproof they dried quickly when we did happen to get caught in a downfall!


Be ready for any weather

Firstly, always remember suncream if you're going on holiday to anywhere with a high temperature or if you're going to exposed to the elements.

Secondly, in Malaysia when monsoon season is upon you, an umbrella will be your best friend. You can use it during the day to shade out of the sun when it hits the highest temperatures and then it will protect you come crazy rainfall in the evening.

And finally, take a raincoat. The one I'm wearing (above) is a super cheap and really lightweight style from Boohoo that did me really well on my travels. It can be stuffed into any small bag and if you do get caught in the rain, it dries very quickly afterwards. If you're travelling for a long time however, it may be worth investing in something more durable.


Caxton FX Travel Money Card

Chiara said she'd been recommended a Caxton FX card to take with us before we left. This works like a credit card, you load it with your currency (limited currencies available) and wherever you are in the world, you can withdraw money in the correct currency from most ATM machines and use it in shops. This was an absolute lifesaver and I'll be using my Caxton FX card on every holiday going forwards. Get one for FREE on their website and even better, there's 0% commission and no crazy withdrawal fees abroad.


And that's it! Hope some or all of these snippets of advice are useful to you or anybody you know that will be travelling in the future!

leanne

x

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

DECLUTTER YOUR WARDROBE //


So starting the year as I mean to go on (and new year, new me - all that nonsense) I've finally started decluttering things that have been a nuisance in the past year. First off, my apartment.

We moved in over six months ago now and have only just started to think properly about decorating and turning this place into a 'home'. We had a spare room full to the brim of all of our my shit and it's about time I admitted it and did something about it.

My name is Leanne and I am a clothes hoarder.

Here's some tips I've been practicing (and am now preaching) to help you overcome the same wardrobe obstacles.

Start small.

Open your wardrobe and work through it, piece by piece. It's as simple as that. Once you make a start on it, it will be much easier to keep going and become more and more ruthless.

Give to charity

Do you have clothes that don't fit, are out of season or you've just never worn? Get them in a charity bag and take them to your local shop. They appreciate almost any item of clothing or accessories in a good and wearable condition (no underwear/bras, for obvious reasons.)

There are various charities that are likely to have a charity shop near you, however, I've been giving to Oxfam GB have an amazing campaign. I strongly believe in their work and I currently volunteer with them in the Summer already - read more about that here! As if helping charity isn't a great enough reason already, Oxfam also allow you to earn nectar points when you give to their shops! The Tag a Bag campaign info is here, who wouldn't want points to put towards your future clothes purchases?

Clothing Banks

If there isn't a charity shop near by or you have clothes that aren't in the best condition (damaged, worn etc.) it's likely there's a clothing bank near you. They accept any textiles as long as they're clean and dry, as they can always be recycled into various other products that will be of use to somebody else in the world. Find your nearest bank here.

Get money for your things

Websites like eBay, Gumtree or apps like Depop have made it so easy for you to make some money on unused or unwanted items you've cleared out of your home. Anything you feel is valuable or brand new and you want to make some of your money back for, stick it online and hopefully someone will snap it up.

I recently made £40 on a dress that I originally paid £60 for over a year ago and I was over the moon.

Give to friends or family

Sharing is caring. Take the clothes you've plucked from the wardrobe round to a friend's house and see if they want to claim anything. I've often ended up with a cute shirt or a nice top from a pal (particularly pals who used to work in Laura Ashley, winning) just because they happened to be spring cleaning. If a pair of jeans have become a little bit tight or that size 12 dress is now too large for you, give it to your sibling, cousins or a friend who lusted after it when you bought it.


Happy decluttering!

Are you decluttering for the start of 2016?

leanne

x

Friday, 15 January 2016

#FitFoodBMF RECIPE BOOK - SWEET POTATO COTTAGE PIE


One of the most exciting things to drop through my letterbox this year so far has been the FitFood recipe book, created by British Military Fitness in collaboration with lots of fabulous, super healthy bloggers!

It's full of great meals and snacks that are perfect to kickstart a healthy 2016. Best of all, the book is completely FREE to download on the British Military Fitness website here.


I was lucky enough to get involved and write up one of my own recipes for #FitFoodBMF which is just one of many amazing (and surprisingly, extremely simple!) recipes in the book. I do have a sweet tooth but my ultimate weakness is a hearty, traditionally British meal. Some might say my portion sizes are far too huge questionable but when it comes to tasty food, is that really an issue...?

Okay, okay maybe it's all about balance. But in all seriousness, here's the lunch recipe I wrote and believe me, it's a tasty one. It's one of my absolute favourites, with a sweet potato twist.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Ingredients you'll need:

1 tbsp sunflower oil
500g extra-lean minced beef
2 chopped carrots
2–3 sweet potatoes
2 potatoes
75g red lentils
1 chopped onion
1 tbsp milk



1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan assisted).

2. Dice both kinds of potato and place them in a pan of water, bring to boil.
(Sweet potato tends to boil much quicker than white potato, so make these pieces bigger than the latter.)

3. As the potatoes are cooking, fry the chopped onion and mince in the sunflower oil on a high heat until brown and cooked through.

4. Add the chopped carrots and lentils to the frying pan and simmer for 5–10 minutes – it’ll cook thoroughly in the oven later.

5. Tip your mince and vegetable mixture into a shallow, ovenproof dish.

6. When the potatoes are boiled and soft, drain thoroughly and mash together with the milk.


7. Add the mash topping to the dish, until even and covering all of the mince mixture.
(Run a fork through in horizontal lines to create a nice, crispy topping.)

8. Bake in the oven for 20–30 minutes, until the mash is golden and crispy.

And finally, 9. Serve and enjoy. Gravy and boiled or steamed green vegetables complement it well.


I'm well underway with my fitness regime in 2016 and I can't wait to get started on making some of the other creations in the #FitFoodBMF book.

What's your favourite healthy recipe?

leanne

x

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

BOOK-IT LIST // JANUARY 2016


Dark Places
Gillian Flynn

After Gone Girl (read my review of that here), I'd be crazy not to want to read more of Gillian's work. I've already started reading this and I'm absolutely hooked. It's another creepy, 'murderful' tale and yet again, we're left suspicious about all the characters and not quite sure who to trust. When you have no idea where a plot is going, that's the sign of a great thriller in my opinion.

This book is also going to be a film adaptation later in the year and I'm hoping it's going to live up the the original story.

How to Overcome Fear of Driving: The Road to Driving Confidence
Joanne Mallon

Driving has become a 'thing' in my life now. It would be useful to do it and now I have access to a car, it makes sense for me to finally make the most of it. I passed my test over four years ago but have rarely driven since because I hate it. I think I'm going to document a bit more about my journey to get over this on TDD at a later date but this book is the start of increasing my driving confidence!

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Elizabeth Gilbert

You've probably seen this ten times over on your Instagram feed if you follow artsy-fartsy, creative types like I do. It's a book that I've heard and seen a lot about and I'll be honest, it got me interested and I finally ordered my own copy. I'm not a huge fan of these 'motivational' books full of jargon but I got this on the understanding it's a little different?

I'll let you know. In the meantime, you can be sure I'll Instagram this soon enough.

For now, keep updated with my reading progress on Goodreads and connect with me so I can see what you're reading this year!

leanne

x

Friday, 8 January 2016

VISITING MALAYSIA // KUALA LUMPUR

So before Christmas I visited Asia for the first time ever and I absolutely loved it. Malaysia is so full of culture and wonderful people and even just choosing photos for this post is tempting me to book another flight already.

I've picked just a few of the places I would recommend to anyone visiting Malaysia for the first time and some of the things that you must do whilst you're there.



Batu Caves

This was our first stop after arriving in Kuala Lumpur and one of the most talked about by travellers in Malaysia. There's a mere 272 steps (get your FitBit ready) to reach the top and you'll be greeted with statues and stalactites galore. Not to mention the cheeky monkeys that surround you on the way up, this is a really memorable experience although take a deep breath if you're not a fan of heights.

Note: Practical shoes always, the steps can be super slippery if it's been raining (which is a lot in monsoon season)


Rooftop Bars

There's a huge array of rooftop bar highlights in KL that tourists rave about. We wanted to experience the Heli Bar (drinking on a helipad? yes please) however we were unfortunate enough to choose a night where the bar was holding a private function. Safe to say we were gutted and lots of whinging occurred but to no avail. A pal who continued his travels in KL after we left later sent us a snap from the rooftop and believe me, you don't want to miss it like we did. *sob*

Reggae Mansion is a party hostel with another noteworthy rooftop bar - good prices, good people and a spot of karaoke if that takes your fancy. Our rendition of Taylor Swift was quite something to behold. You get a superb view of the KL Tower and it's a great place to meet fellow travellers.

Trader's Hotel is just a short walk from KLCC station and is home to the Sky Bar. This place has the best view of the Petronas Towers in the city and is the perfect photo opportunity. The drinks are pretty reasonably priced (for Malaysia - imported alcohol is not cheap!) for the party atmosphere and it's definitely worth a visit.



Elephant Sanctuary

We really wanted to see some elephants during our stay in Asia, so we headed to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary on a day tour from KL. The drive is about 90 mins from the city but absolutely worth the trip.

It's a beautiful hideaway and we were given lunch at a local cafe just outside, whilst it absolutely chucked it down with rain. The rain didn't cease when we finally met the elephants, which may or may not have resulted in an elephant EATING MY UMBRELLA and therefore causing an absolute scene. I was mortified but at least it's a funny story for everyone else. And the elephant was fine (and probably a bit smug, for that matter.)

The baby elephants are adorable, of course. Usually on the tour, there's a chance to bathe the babies in the lake but unfortunately the water levels had risen too much (thank you, monsoon weather) and the tiny ones couldn't stand up in it. Although we missed out on this, feeding them was such a great experience. If you're an animal lover, this is definitely a place to put at the top of your list.

Note: We booked this as part of a combined tour with the Batu Caves. It was fab value and although transport is cheap, it was so much easier than making our own way around.




Botanical Gardens

Within walking distance from the central station or a short train ride away, Kuala Lumpur is home to beautiful botanical gardens and KL bird park. We spent a good few hours here as there's just so much to see (and we might've got lost loads once or twice.)

The bird park is a free-flight area, so once you get over the initial worry of a bird shitting on you or flying at your face, it's surprisingly great. There are some beautiful birds and gardens throughout and luckily, we picked a glorious day to explore them.

If birds aren't your sort of thing, the botanical gardens themselves are great to wander around for a while. There are a number of museums to choose from in the area as well as a planetarium; something for everyone you might say.




Petronas Twin Towers

A typical tourist destination but you still can't quite comprehend the sheer size of Kuala Lumpur's own twin towers when you emerge from the KLCC station beneath them.

It's a perfect place to appreciate the varied culture of Malaysia whilst watching people try and fail to take successful selfies with buildings. As we visited in December, the Christmas decorations were out in full force. The candy-cane and fairy-light covered tree behind the towers was one of my favourites, especially accompanied by a light show at the fountains beside it in the evening.

The towers aren't a hidden gem by any means but it's certainly not something you want to miss whilst in Malaysia.

Note: Amazing visit during the day but also head there at night for a completely different atmosphere (and Instagram shot!)



Hope you enjoyed my little round-up of things to do in Kuala Lumpur, I would absolutely recommend this city if you're contemplating visiting Asia. It's beautiful even in the midst of skyscrapers, plus the people are just so lovely!


Have you ever visited KL, or would you like to?

leanne

x

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

OX CLUB @ HEADROW HOUSE // LEEDS


Headrow House is a brand new drinking spot, a spot of four floors to be exact, tucked away in Leeds. If you're a local, it's a new development from the guys behind the nearby Belgrave Music Hall so you know it's going to be a good 'un.

It's not far from the city's up and coming 'Northern Quarter' and with a beer hall, cocktail bar and roof terrace, it's definitely a place to keep in mind in the coming year.


Their ground floor Ox Club restaurant opened a little later than the rest of the building but on their eagerly awaited launch weekend, we were invited for a spot of brunch from the new menu. On arrival we were offered a complimentary glass of prosecco (10:30am so of course, yes please!) to celebrate their opening and coincidently, our early Christmas weekend festivities.

The brunch menu (here) is full of tasty options but in the end we settled for the Ox Club breakfast and Smoked Avocado between us. It's great, plentiful food and actually fab value for money for the setting and service you can expect during your visit.

Also, everything is better when your milk is served in a tiny glass bottle with a stopper. Everything.




Both meals were great and the atmosphere makes such a nice change from the american-style diners that have been a hit for brunch lovers in Leeds recently.

It's much more rustic and the food is far less greasy; a great place for a weekend treat.



Check out the Headrow House website for more information and we'll definitely be paying Ox Club another visit. I've got my eye on this place for an evening meal in the coming weeks for sure.

leanne

x

This post features products and events that were subsidised for review purposes.
All opinions are my own and were written without the influence of the prosecco we were offered, I promise!